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Hakeem Jeffries, likely replacement for Pelosi, backs commission to study slavery reparations


Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the top candidate to replace Nancy Pelosi as Democratic House leader, is backing legislation to study the feasibility of providing reparations to descendants of enslaved individuals.

Jeffries, DN.Y., is one of nearly 200 co-sponsors of a bill to create a national commission to study and develop proposals on slavery reparations. The 13-member commission would be tasked with presenting appropriate remedies to the continuing negative effects of slavery and discrimination in the United States.

“The call for reparations represents a commitment to engage in constructive dialogue about the role of slavery and racism in shaping the current conditions of our community and American society,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat. of Texas who drafted the legislation.

Although the bill has not made progress in the Democratic-controlled House since 2019, its support has grown in recent years. Jeffries was an early supporter of the bill when it was first introduced in 2019.

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“The least we can do is investigate these historic wrongs,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said. “It’s the least this Congress can do.”
(Reuters)

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill last year, Jeffries said a reparations study was the least Congress could do after generations of injustice.

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“We are not going to move forward because after slavery, [there was] Jim Crow and the rise of the KKK,” Jeffries said at the time. “And the lynching epidemic. And Plessy versus Ferguson. And Black Wall Street in 1921 destroyed.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is seen as the best candidate to replace Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader in the next Congress.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is seen as the best candidate to replace Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader in the next Congress.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“It’s a great country, we’ve come a long way, we still have a long way to go, we’re not perfect, but we’re walking towards a more perfect union,” Jeffries said. “The least we can do is investigate these historic wrongs. It’s the least this Congress can do.”

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Jeffries announced his candidacy to succeed Pelosi last week. The 52-year-old New Yorker has received near universal support for his rise. His path was further cleared when Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat who chairs the nearly 100-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, chose not to mount her own race.

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